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11-year-old Ukrainian traveled 600 miles alone to Slovakia to get to safety

The boy carried a backpack, a plastic bag and a passport. He had a telephone number written on his hand for emergencies.

11-year-old Ukrainian traveled 600 miles alone to Slovakia to get to safety
Image source: Facebook/ministerstvovnutraSR

An 11-year-old boy made the long treacherous journey from Ukraine to Slovakia on his own. Worried for his safety, the boy's mother put him on a train to Slovakia. He traveled more than 600 miles from his home in Zaporizhzhia, southeast Ukraine, to reach Slovakia. He carried a backpack, a plastic bag and a passport. He had a telephone number written on his hand for emergencies, said Slovak Ministry of Interior, reported CNN. The Slovakian authorities hailed him as “a hero of the night.” The boy was forced to make the trip alone as his mother had to stay back and care for the boy's grandmother who is disabled and not in a position to travel. "Volunteers took care of him, took him to a warm place and gave him food and drink,” said the ministry.


The authorities later said that the information written on his hand and on a piece of paper in his passport were the contact of the boy's relatives in Slovakia. The staff at the border contacted the boy's relatives who took him with them to their home. “He won over everyone with his smile, fearlessness, and determination worthy of a real hero,” read the statement said. "He came all alone from Zaporizhzhia because his parents had to stay in Ukraine," police spokeswoman Denisa Bardyova told AFP.


"I am very grateful that they saved the life of my child," the boy's mother, Yulia Pisetskaya said in a video message posted on Facebook. "In your small country, there are people with big hearts," she added said. More than 1.2 million refugees had fled Ukraine since February 24, when Russia invaded the country. Those fleeing Ukraine primarily include women and children, as Ukraine's President Zelenskyy imposed martial law, which requires men between the ages 18 and 60 to stay back and help fight the war. The EU asked all 27 member nations to grant asylum to all Ukrainians for up to three years. According to estimates by the United Nations, the number of people being displaced and seeking refuge could be anywhere from 4 to 7 million. "I think we will have to prepare for millions," said EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson, reported DW. Most of the refugees have fled to Poland, Hungary, Slovakia, Moldova, and Romania.


According to Vox, at least 505,000 Ukrainians have headed for Poland, the country believed to have taken in most of the refugees followed by Hungary with 139,000. Moldova has taken in 97,000, Romania has taken in 51,000 and Slovakia has taken in 72,000 refugees. It is estimated that 90,000 refugees have headed to other European countries. Poland has been lauded for its efforts in accomodating refugees.


Russia has come under heavy scrutiny worldwide for its attack on Ukraine. The Russian military announced on Monday that it will hold fire and open humanitarian corridors in several Ukrainian cities. Reports suggest that corridors are set up in the southern port city of Mariupol, Kharkiv, and Sumy thanks to a personal request of French President Emmanuel Macron who spoke to Russian President Vladimir Putin, reported USA Today. This comes a day after the World Health Organization (WHO) confirmed several attacks on health care [centers] in Ukraine. "Attacks on healthcare facilities or workers breach medical neutrality and are violations of international humanitarian law," said WHO Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus on Sunday.

Russia's invasion of Ukraine is a developing story, and we’ll update as we learn more. Information is swiftly changing and Upworthy is committed to providing the most recent and verified updates in our articles and reportage. However, considering the frequency in developments, some of the information/data in this article may have changed since the time of publication.

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